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Gone Fishin’!

October 3, 2011

Finally made it out on the water again this Sunday.   Mike Cassidy had invited me on a halfday trip to wash off some fishing lures, and I jumped at the chance.

We left around lunchimte from Agat Marina.  Agat is a village on the southside, home to one of the two marinas on the island.  Since Mike’s boat is trailerable (a 23 footer) and the better fishing (according to Mike) is down south – we leave from Agat.

It strikes me as odd that an island of 200,000 in the middle of the Pacific has but two marinas – and small ones at that.

I shouldn’t complain.  When one fishes off the reef in Key West, a school of fish may have a dozen charterboats jockyeing for position.  In the 5 hours on the water, we saw but one boat.

Fortunately, the camera was brought along this time.  The views off the south side of Guam are pretty spectacular.

It’s hard to give the panorama perspective, but the house on the lower left helps a tad.

Landlubbers rarely see a view of the ocean as this.  Open ocean is referred to as “blue water”.  We’re in about 3000′ of water here, on our way to about 5000′ The transparent indigo is mesmerizing.

Mike rigs his boat so as to have the opportunity to pull in fish the size of a compact car.

We ran five lines for most of the day – a pair of outriggers,  2 corner mounts and a center line.  Surface trolling was the order of the day.

I’d repaired this outrigger for Mike – that’s a Home Depot cabinet knob rethreaded and loctited to keep the unit up and running.  Sadly, the other mount failed on this trip – I’ll have to re-engineer the vertical pivot to handle the stress.  Not so sad for me – I enjoy this sort of thing.

About a six miles out, we ran into birds.  Birds feed off baitfish, which are driven to the surface by predators from below.  In this case, the predators were bonito.  Bonito are a type of small tuna.  Decent fighters, but their size (15″-20″) were no match for Mike’s big Penn reels.  If we hauled too quickly, we’d tear the hooks out.

Bloody damned fish.  Ruined another shirt in the process.

They have to be bled immediately upon capture to keep the meat sweet – otherwise, they are a bitter fish, I’m told.

They come out of the water a bright iridescent blue, and fade within seconds.  We caught them so quickly and they flap so much that it’s impossible to shoot them fresh out of the water.

We had as many as three on at a time.  Graham, the other fisherman out with us was an experienced hand which made the process of catching/removing/bleeding each fish a snap.  We caught 25-30 over the course of the day, trolling over what seemed to be three different schools.

15 miles out, we called it a day.

Tired and sore, we headed home.

Fishing on Guam has to be an undiscovered treasure.  This is one of the only places I’ve been to where fisherman are disappointed when they don’t hook a marlin every time they go out.  I’ve not the heart to tell Mike hooking a marlin is something Keys fisherman dream of, but do perhaps once a year.

Next time, we hope to do some deep-sea fishing in search for onaga – a ruby red snapper which supposedly tastes just like lobster.  I can’t wait.

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